Antoine Walker was a pretty good basketball player: a two-time All Star with the Boston Celtics and an NBA champion as a member of the Miami Heat. And yes, he made a lot of money. But he lost it all. Bad investments, gambling addictions, and “friends” who took advantage of his fame and fortune, have put him into serious financial trouble.
He needs to pay off his debt and professional basketball is his best chance at it. He is trying to revive his career by playing for the Iowa Stampede of the NBA Developmental League in the hope that an NBA team will give him another shot to play.
This is not how his storybook career was supposed to end. He should be retired and living the high life; instead, he’s scraping and fighting for it. Many athletes in his situation would give up knowing just how difficult it is to make it back to the NBA at an advanced age. But Walker isn’t resting on his laurels. He’s giving it everything he’s got. And that is very admirable. Ken Berger wrote a nice article about Walker’s troubled past and his struggle and resolve to improve his life.
Walker’s determination to succeed at all costs is reminiscent of our greatest leader, Moses. Moses was denied entry into the land of Israel by God, but that didn’t deter him from continuing to plead his case until the very last moment. Although God did not change His mind and Moses never entered the promised land, his unyielding and unbending desire to make it there was legendary. The attitude of Moses is reflected in an important Rabbinic teaching: A person must never give up hope that he will be saved even if a sword has been placed on his neck to be killed.
We don’t know what God has in store for us. All we can do, and must do, is to continue to work as hard as we can, every day, until the very last moment. This lesson seems to resonate within Walker’s psyche and I hope that he succeeds in putting his life back together.
Good Luck Antoine!